The Black Dog Newsletter : “What is Even Happening Anymore Edition?!”

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As we witness the fall of the American empire, the plague ravishing the land and murder hornets having their way with our bees, a bit of good news casts a ray of light into the darkness. Black Dog Video, and many other business, are back in action! We’re open everyday noon till 6pm at both shops. These hours will be adjusted in the coming weeks to suit your needs. And we’ve taken precautions to make your visit to our shops as safe and enjoyable as possible:

– Plexiglas barriers have been installed
– We’ve had both shops entirely disinfected courtesy of the good folks at Zeroblast
– We’re limiting the number of people in the stores to 5-6 at a time.
– Please don’t stay too long – browsing is OK but only for renters and speedy buyers
– We wipe down all incoming DVD cases with our special bleach solution
– Please give each other room to roam in the shops. Get spaced out!

We received the shipment of New Releases mentioned in the previous newsletter!

The Hunt
I Wish I Knew
Never Really Sometimes Often
Outback
Watchmen Season 1

And we should (hopefully) have a few more titles by the end of this week. They might include:

Beanpole
The Current War
The Death of Dick Long
Once Were Brothers
Recorder- The Marion Stokes Project

And hopefully in the next couple of weeks:

Abe
Creepshow Season 1
Extra Ordinary
Harley Quinn Season 1
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Corpus Christi
Inheritance

Also, I just wanted to mention before I bid adieu, our sweet deals remain in place everyday:
5 beautiful old titles for $15 and 3 shiny New Releases for the price of 2!

And…if you haven’t already, get your late returns back as soon as you can please.

Be safe, be happy, it’s good to be back.

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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The Black Dog Newsletter: “Things to Know About Re-Opening! Edition!”

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Maybe it’s too soon to open things back up, maybe it’s not. I guess time (or an alien bursting out of your chest) will tell. We will be opening on a regular basis starting Friday (29th) from noon till 6pm at both shops. I imagine that we’ll be expanding those hours as we see fit. We’re going to keep the pre-ordering and pick-up service available but only for Wednesdays and Saturdays and see how that goes (doing it everyday may cause my head to explode). Same format as before – online or email – blackdogvid@gmail.com .

I’m sure that you know the drill for popping into the shops – only 5 patrons at a time, give each other space and time, be patient, please no looky-llos killing time before your foot massage appointment, etc. Be nice.

Stuff that we’re doing to make things safe include: installing a plexiglass barrier between us and them, wearing of masks as we see fit, wiping down incoming returns and we’re also having the entire shops disinfected (lasts up to 3 months!) from this company here. Sounds like fun!

We’re also going to be continuing with our fabulous deals everyday! Rent 5 catalogue titles for $15 – keep for a week or even longer if you ask nicely, and rent 2 New Releases and get a 3rd for FREE! And even more news – all late charges incurred up to Friday the 29th will be forgiven! This includes any pre-apocalypse fees. (You can always tip us if you feel guilty!)

New Releases

(Arriving sometime this week or early next week)

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The Hunt – The most dangerous game! Humans! 12 folks wake up in a field (been there!) only to find they have to participate in The Hunt!

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I Wish I Knew – Sprawling Chinese epic about the opening of Shanghai as a trading port in the 1800s. From the guy who made the top notch Ash is Purest White.

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Never Rarely Sometimes Often – Heavy drama about two girls who have to travel from Pennsylvania to New York to obtain an abortion. Don’t get me started!

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Outback – A young American couple find themselves struggling for survival in the dangerous Australian outback! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not going to Australia.

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The Watchmen Season 1 – TV show version of the movie that was a adaptation of the comic book that sprang from the demented mind of Allan Moore. Heard very fine things.

Coming Soon!

Last Moments of Clarity
Creepshow S1
The Lodge
Buffaloed
Wildlife
Once Were Brothers
Abe
Extra Ordinary

That’s it for this week folks. There was a ton of stuff I wanted to go over – oh ya! Tuesday at Commercial and Wednesday at Cambie are our last curb-side dates before we open on Friday. Get your orders in asap – but I forget the other stuff. Stay tuned and stay healthy…

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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The Black Dog Newsletter: “Friday on my Mind”

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Instead of a photo of an old-timey gas mask, here’s a picture of my cats. Now that that’s out of the way, onto business.

So tomorrow will be the last Saturday for our curb-stomp pick-up – 3-6pm – (and there will still be one at each store next week) because starting Friday the 29th we will be back in business, baby. The doors will be flung open noon until 6pm everyday until further notice. There will be more details to come as well.

If you read the previous email I mentioned the release of the films;

The Gentlemen
The Informer
Exorcism at 60,000 Feet

They are all on the shelves and ready for your enjoyment. Get your orders in online or email us at blackdogvid@gmail.com for pick-up at either shop tomorrow.

Huzzah!

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Father and Son (and sometimes Wife) Film Appreciation Class

Since we’re all cooped up in our abodes while the plague ravishes the land I thought we’d put together a film appreciation class! Everyday my 14.5 year-old, we’ll call him Swanson, and I (and sometimes his mother, my wife) will take in, what I consider anyways, a classic of cinema. We’ll run the gamut from silent films to a few current selections. I’m going to try to keep it fun so he won’t get bored. It will be non-linear, as in we’ll pop around the 20th Century and explore theme’s, history, where we’re at and how did we get here. Feel free to play along and chime in with thoughts and suggestions!

March 30/2020

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The General (Buster Keaton – 1926) – Made on a rather large budge for the time – $750 K – and making only $475K – it was a big flop and almost ruined Keaton’s career. He later said it was the film he was most proud of. This action/comedy set during the beginning of the Civil War is known for it’s elaborate and crazy dangerous stunts. Watch for the scene when he rides on the cow catcher and tosses railroad ties to clear the way. Incredible.

Post – it was a fun film to watch again. I hadn’t seen it in ages. Cool score by the Alloy Orchestra. Swanson really liked it as well. When asked what he liked about it he replied, “It was funny, well-shot and I like that Buster Keaton guy. He’s short, has a big head and looks weird.”  There ya have it.

March 31/20

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Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly 1952) – Since we just watched a silent film and since Swanson loves musicals, I thought this would be the perfect film for tonight as it deals with the struggle of a film company as the adjust going from silent movies to “talkies” or, I guess, “singies” back in the day. Famous for Kelly’s wet rain number but don’t forget Donald, um, Sutherland…nope…Pleasence…nope…Duck….um nope…O’Connor! That’s it, and, of course, Debbie Reynolds. All are amazing.

Post – All enjoyed the fun dancey film. Lots of tap. Maybe too much? Naw. Swanson says, “put it on my staff picks!” He also commented that Gene Kelly looked like Spongebob Squarepants in during one particular number.

April 1/20

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Casablanca (Michael Curtiz – 1942) Look at that cast – Bogey, Bergman, Lorre, Reins, Greenstreet, others! Although Casablanca was an A-list film with big stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything other than one of the hundreds of ordinary pictures produced by Hollywood studio system which churned out films at an alarming rate. Who’s laughing now?

Post – I loved it. As did my wife. Swanson, not so much. He liked it but found it a little confusing. I guess one needs to know a little of the history of the time to put the film in context. Still, he admired Bogie’s enormous head.

April 3rd

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Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock 1954)Swanson’s seen the Simpsons version so now it’s time for the real thing.

April 5th

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The Third Man (Carol Reed 1949) – Nice to revisit the dank dark streets of post-war Vienna and get reacquainted with the friends of Harry Lime. Swanson liked it but of all the films we’ve watched for this club so far, it was his least liked. I’ll get him an American noir in his eyes soon enough.

April 6th

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Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron – 2006) – I thought I’d treat Swanson to something a little more current – not just when the film was made (14 years ago!) but timely in it’s subject matter – pandemic, blame the immigrants etc. Told him to focus on the details – so much going on in the background and the intense single shot takes. Still holds up beautifully although it wasn’t his favourite film we’ve watched so far. I loved it.

April 7th

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The Haunting (Robert Wise 1963) – The Haunting (original – forget the lame remake) has been one of my favourite horror films (haunted house category) for such a long time. It was our first horror film for this class and I was quite excited to show Swanson this one. I told him to look for the use of sound, art direction, editing, camera angles and shadows and the fine black and white cinematography (instead of showing you ghosts and things) to create the unsettling atmosphere and give you the chills and the scares. And to my delight (and maybe a little surprise) he loved it! The odd angles and creepy statues were highlights for him. It goes on his staff pick shelf!  That’s 4 out of 7. Not too shabby.

April 9th

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A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood 1935) – The first Marx Brothers movie and any of us had seen! And what a delight. Swanson and Wife really were head over heels for it while I enjoyed it but could have done with less opera singing and harp playing. Made us want to watch more and it goes on his staff picks! What are your favourite Marx Brothers movies?

April 12/20

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman 1978) – I thought it might be appropriate given the times we’re slogging through. I mentioned to watch for the hand-held camera, quick cuts, camera angles and use of background noises to heighten the feeling of paranoia. And to look for cameos from the director and star of the original (which we watched last year and it’s the version that I prefer although I like this version’s ending better). It was great to watch again although Swanson felt there was too much running.

April 14/20

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The Bank Dick (Edward Cline 1940) – Another first – none of us had seen a W.C. Fields film before. This is a weird movie. Swanson really enjoyed it (more than I did) as it has a nice light comedic tone with a sprinkling of good laughs and ends with a crazy car chase. I enjoyed the child abuse and his strange relationship with his hateful family. Bonus points for having a character named Filthy McNasty.

April 16/20

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Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder 1944) Walter Neff looks at the glass of iced tea he’s been handed. “A little rum would get this on it’s feet”. A great line in a film filled with great lines. My favourite noir and now Swanson’s as well. A pleasure to watch again. On the staff pick wall it goes.

April 18/20

A surreal double bill!

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Un Chien Andalou (Luis Buñuel 1929) Thought I’d blow Swanson’s mind with 21 minutes of bizarre surreal imagery (as it blew my mind when I first saw it all those years ago). I still can’t believe this made in the 1920s. The eye slicing scene made him bury his head in a blanket. After that his comment was, “I don’t trust this film anymore”. Might be the best comment I’ve ever heard.

Then…

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Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly 2001) – I’ve seen this film four times now (once the director’s cut – not recommended) and it’s still up for debate about what it’s all about and what actually happens (at least in my mind). Swanson loved it and we discussed the possibilities of what transpired for some time. but came up with no concrete answers. A great cult classic that still holds up incredibly well despite being almost 20 years old (!).

April 21/20

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Duck Soup (Leo McCarey 1933) – Yes, another Marx Brothers film (watched upon recommendations made after viewing Night at the Opera). Pretty funny with a nice short run time. I think I enjoyed Night at Opera better, but this still has some inspired moments (the peanut vendor gags are gold). Swanson requested this one and he was quite enthralled with it. And I can see why Zeppo is the Shemp of the bunch. Not too sure why it was called duck soup – no ducks, no soup.

April 25/20

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Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz 1986) – This was a Swanson pick. He’s a big fan of the stage production and soundtrack so what can I say? He enjoyed it (liked the play much more). I thought it was particularly dreadful – lame songs, flat direction, vaguely racist talking plant. I liked Steve Martin until I didn’t. I know it’s beloved by many but I cannot recommend this one at all.

April 26/20

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What’s Up Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich 1972) – As this was one of my favourite comedies growing up, I was a tad apprehensive about watching it again in case it didn’t age well. Boy was I wrong. This is still one of the funniest, silliest, most wonderful of comedies. A young, sexy and totally charming Barbara Streisand leads a hilarious cast through a series of misunderstandings and mix-ups climaxing in one of the most hysterical and thrilling car chases ever. Swanson loved it as well. He said it’s probably his favourite of all the films we’ve watched so far! I was pleased as punch!

April 28/20

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An American Werewolf in London (John Landis 1981) I thought I’d introduce Swanson to one of the earliest (that I remember anyways) examples of the horror/comedy genres combining for a tasty movie stew. For the most part it holds up – effects are still cool – but I forgot the “climax” starts in a porn theatre (not particularly necessary and vaguely uncomfortable to watch with a 14 year-old, “Did those places actually exist?” he asked) and all the ridiculous gory mayhem – people flying through windshields, heads crushed, decapitations, bodies strewn about during the monster’s final rampage! It was still fun but of the time for sure.

April 30/20

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In a Lonely Place (Nicolas Ray 1950) – I’d been told by several people to watch this, so I did. Wow. What a great film. Bogart at his best – might be my favourite role he’s played. He’s sad, angry and pathetic. You’re still rooting for him even as he spirals out of control. A great mash-up of noir and 50’s melodrama. Swanson loved it as well. I’m constantly impressed by how much he enjoys these older films.

May 1/20

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Robocop (Paul Verhoeven 1987) Some fun Friday night viewing! Still a great funny, violent satire. I love Verhoeven and now Swanson does as well. We especially laughed at the Ed-209 audition, the toxic waste fella and Ronny Cox’s long arms as he falls to his death. Good times.

May6/20

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Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock 1960) Hard to believe this came out in 1960. It’s still great and chilling! The boy loved it as well. Rediscovering Hitch all over again myself! I want to live in that house!

May 8/20

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The Road Warrior aka Mad Max 2 (George Miller 1981) – Still my all-time favourite action film. Melted my young brain when I accidentally stumbled across it in the theatres all those years ago. Sure Fury Road is glossier with a bigger budget, but pound for pound, gimme The Road Warrior any day. Oh, and the boy and wife both enjoyed the hell out it!

May 12/20

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North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock 1959) Digested another Hitchcock film. Lots of fun, maybe a bit too long (I can think of a few scenes some scissors would have been appreciated) but top notch anyway. I was never a big Hitch fan but re-watching these past few has changed that opinion. Can’t wait for Vertigo! The boy is digging the old man as well.

May 15/20

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Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson 1986) – “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”, “I’ve had but a few ales”, “I want the finest wines know to humanity!” “Cool your boots, man” So many fine lines in this cult classic. I was worried that the boy wouldn’t be down with this funny and sad tale of down-on -their-luck actors who hightail to the country-side to rejuvenate with disastrous results. But he quite liked it (he like that fact the other guy is just called “I”). Nice to see these guys again.

May 19/20

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Le Cercle Rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville 1970) – Look up “cool film” in the dictionary and you’ll find this wonderful French slice of crime life. Cool, not just in feeling and stature, but in the colour palette, the acting, the settings, just so cool. Wow. The boy quite enjoyed it but thought it was a bit too long (and there are no female characters in it at all). But I loved the pace and how it took it’s time to introduce the 4 main characters and how they all came together. Never boring, always cool.

May 23/20

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Carrie (Brian De Palma 1976) – One of my favourite horror films growing up, this one still packs a punch. From the very uncomfortable opening shower scene to the amazing prom scene to the crucifixion scene to the great, weird last scene, Carrie still delivers the goods. And, especially, just after watching a few Hitchcock films it was fun to point out the influences on De Palma’s film. The boy loved it and that final shot scared the bejeezus out of him. Good times.

May 28/20

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Safety Last! (Fred Neymeyer 1923) The forgotten (by some) contemporary of Chaplin and Keaton, Harold Lloyd is no slouch in the physical comedy department. Just watch and marvel at the 20 (or so) minute climax where he scales a building. Hold your breath laughs! Simply amazing. We all loved it (first time viewing for everyone!). A must watch for fans of this type of thing.

May 30/20

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It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Stanley Kramer 1963) I remember seeing this when I was a kid and thinking it was the funniest thing ever. Looking back I wonder what I was thinking at all! Check out this cast of funny dudes (Sorry, women, I guess there wasn’t any funny ladies back then!)! Then why isn’t this film hilarious? We really enjoyed it – even at it’s 2 hour and 40 minute run-time (there’s a 3 hour and 25 minute cut out there somewhere) – the car chases and stunts are great but with all these folks involved it should have been a laugh riot. The boy totally enjoyed it and says, “put it on my picks!”.

June 3/20

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City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931) What a charmer! I’d never seen this Chaplin film before. It’s funny, sad and lovely. I like how all three of the big “silent fellas” – Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd – make their protagonist heroes poor and struggling to make it in the world. The end scene in City Lights  pushed it over the cliff for me and made me tear up a bit. I don’t think that’s ever happened in a silent film (made 5 years after the introduction of sound!) before. Loved it.

June 5/20

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Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Terry Jones 1979) Of the three Python movies I’ve always found this one to be the least funny. And that remains true after last night’s viewing. That said, Life of Brian is still quite a hilarious and fun ride. So many good lines. I’m forever saying “I’m not!” in various conversations. And the aliens! Nice touch. The boy liked it but the Holy Grail is still his jam. We haven’t checked out Meaning of Life as of yet though…

June 7/20

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Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock 1958) Our fourth Hitch film for the class is a wonder of lighting, mood and intensity. That said, it’s also my least favourite of the 4 we’ve watched so far. But that said, it’s still great: Jimmy Stewart and his blistering blue eyes, the lovely Kim Novak in a dual role, that crazy red restaurant, Midge. The amazing first 2/3ds are undone (for me anyways) a bit by the obsession of Scottie to get Judy done up to look like Madeline. But that’s just me. Still a great film!

June 12/20

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The Exorcist (William Friedkin 1973) Time to freak the boy out! I saw this when I was around 13 or so and it’s stayed with me all these years. Arguably the scariest movie ever made. I still find it terrifying (and I’m an atheist!) and it still has the power to shock (can’t imagine what it was like to see this at Christmas time in 1973!). The boy wasn’t as freaked out as I’d hoped – he laughed at a few parts before becoming horrified – but he still enjoyed it. On the staff pick wall it goes!

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The Black Dog Video Newsletter: “We’re Back, Baby Edition!”

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Mark May 29th on your calendar, on your forearm, on your child or neighbor’s child as that is the day we will be re-opening the shops on a regular basis (providing nothing else happens between now and then – volcanic eruption, rogue asteroid, murder hornets)! Hours are still yet to be determined (they will be shorter days) so stay tuned for more details. Huzzah!

Until then, we are still offering our famous curb-side pick-up days. Tuesdays (today!) at Commercial, Wednesdays (day after today!) at Cambie and both shops on Saturdays. 3-6pm. Folks are also welcome to browse (not too long, please) if you are renting – no looky-loos – and we’d like to keep it to 5 folks max in the shops at any given time. Send us your orders online or email us at blackdogvid@gmail.com for all your movie dreams and wishes.

New Releases!

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Exorcism at 60,000 Feet – (should be here sometime this week) – A pandemic of possessed people plague a passenger plane! What are you gonna do about it? My main takeaway from this film is – do aeroplanes really fly that high?

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The Gentlemen – (should be here sometime this week) – Guy Ritchie returns to his roots of his (only?) successful genre – the quirky heist crime comedy action thriller!

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The Informer – (should be here sometime this week) – Dude goes undercover in a prison to infiltrate the mob. Is that really a good idea?

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The Invisible Man – Elizabeth Moss is stalked by her boyfriend who’s now invisible. Thoughts: If you could make yourself invisible, is that what you’d do with that cool, creepy power? Not rob a bank, hit Scheer with a pie or push Trump down a flight of stairs? Still, it’s a pretty fun ride.

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Onward – Latest Pixar dealie about two elf brothers who go on an adventure to hang out with their dead dad. Fun!

Coming Soon!

Wildlife
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band
Creepshow Season 1
Harley Quinn Season 1
Watchmen Season 1
The Hunt

That’s it for this week folks! Stay safe, return your late films and we hope to see you soon!

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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Black Dog Newsletter “Baby It’s Covid Outside Edition!”

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So, we’re working towards being open soon on a regular (or semi-regular) basis. We figure maybe in the next week or two. Just seeing which way the (Covid) wind blows. But until then you can still send in your orders for pick-up! Tuesday and Saturday at Commercial and Wednesday and Saturday at Cambie (3-6pm both shops). Order online here or send us an email – blackdogvid@gmail.com. We’re still trying to iron out some kinks in the process so please bare with us.

New Releases

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Brahms: The Boy II – Awkward title for another film about a killer doll. Seems a lot of folks are afraid of creepy murderous dolls these days.

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Call of the Wild – Grizzled Harrison Ford and a dog named Buck star in this much told tale of a sled dog struggling to survive in the wilds of the Yukon.

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Emma – Another version of the much told tale for all you Austenheads out there.

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Sonic the Hedgehog – Movie about a fast blue hedgehog that solves crimes or something.

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Tigers are Not Afraid – I hear that this Mexican horror thriller about kids trying to survive the cartel drugs wars and also some ghosts is pretty top notch! Can’t wait!

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Underwater – An earthquake (maybe!) at the bottom of the ocean threatens the lives of a crew of folks living or working (or both?) down there. Are there monsters unleashed by human greed and hubris? (Maybe!)

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The Way Back – Not to be confused with The Way Back or The Way Way Back (good flick!) or The Way Back, this Way Back stars Ben Affleck as a washed up basketball guy who gets one last shot at basketball redemption (the best kind of redemption!)

Also the series Baptiste and Ray Donovan Season 7 will now be available at Cambie.

Coming Soon!

The Gentlemen
The Lodge
Creepshow Season 1
Justice League Dark
Onward
The Traitor
Invisible Man

That’s it for this week, folks. I hope that everyone is staying healthy and hydrated in these dark sunny times. And I hope to see your masked faces in the video shops soon!

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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The Black Dog Video Newsletter “Trying New Things Episode!”

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So we’ve added an order form link on the website (and HERE!) where you can place your orders for pick up! I will email you on pick up day when your order is fresh out of the oven and ready to take home. It’s a work in progress so we’ll see how it goes! When will the next pick up day be, you ask? Tomorrow at Commercial and Wednesday at Cambie and both shops on Saturday 3-6pm. That will be the schedule for now. If things change, you’ll be the first to know!

New Releases!

(All will be on the shelves tomorrow)

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Baptiste – TV show about a fellow who gets caught up in a murder investigation while on vacation. Vacation?! Remember those? (at Commercial, soon to Cambie)

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Birds of Prey – Margot Robbie is a fighting lady named Harley Quinn in this action/comedy extravaganza!

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Bloodshot – Good old Vin Diesel get killed and then re-birthed (ew!) as a super soldier in this action nonsense film.

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Fantasy Island – Yep, Hollywood is officially out of ideas.

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Gretel and Hansel – Fairy tale horror in the woods number.

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The Jesus Rolls – Notorious bowling ball-licker (so not hygienic), John Tuturro is back for more bowling ball hi-jinks.

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The Photograph – Love story with photos and romance.

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Ray Donovan Season 7 – The seventh season of Ray Donovan (at Commercial, soon to Cambie)

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Vivarium – Imogen Poots (!) and Jesse Eisenberg get literally lost in suburbia.

Coming Soon!

The Gentlemen
The Informer
Call of the Wild
Tigers are not Afraid
Creepshow Season 1
Emma
Onward
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Way Back

So it looks like Donair Town has joined Frederico’s, The Storm Crow and Cabrito as places that won’t be opening again. Lousy plague! Get out and support your neighborhood small businesses!

Hope to see your masked smiling faces in the shops this week!

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

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Black Dog Newsletter : “Plague Survival Guide Edition!”

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Here we are, about to enter another month in plague city. How are you all making out? What are you doing to keep yourselves sane? Watching movies (me!)? Baking bread? Banging pots? Yelling at folks in the parks? These are strange days indeed. I hope that our little curb-side pick-ups help to ease your stress and anxiety. We’ll be open this Saturday – both shops – from 3-6pm. Send us your orders – blackdogvid@gmail.com – and we’ll do our best to have them ready for you. Check the homepage of the website for more details.

New Releases

(hopefully we’ll have them by Saturday!)

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Baptiste Season 1 (Commercial shop – soon to Cambie) – Guy from another TV series goes to Amsterdam on vacation (wink-wink) and gets embroiled in a murder investigation.

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Birds of Prey – Harley Quinn traipses around with some other lady super-heroes fighting crime and stuff.

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Bloodshot – Vin Diesel (not his real name) is a soldier who gets himself killed only to be re-animated as a tough guy super soldier (not a documentary).

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Fantasy Island – Finally someone took that mediocre TV show from the 70’s and made it into a horror film. I can finally rest.

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Gretel & Hansel – Update on the famous tale of kids wandering in the woods and finding a nexus of evil. A NEXUS of EVIL!

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The Jesus Rolls – From the “Unnecessary Spin-Off Department” comes this comedy thing with John Turturro as the weird bowling guy from Big Lebowski.

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The Photograph – Nice-looking romantic dealie that intertwines stories from the past with the present. I bet a photograph plays an important role!

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Ray Donovan Season 7 (Commercial shop) – Season 7 of Ray Donovan

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Vivarium – Good-looking young couple Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots (favourite name ever!) get stuck in a labyrinth-like neighbourhood where all the house look the same. Welcome to suburbia, kids!

Coming Soon!

Call of the Wild
Tigers are Not Afraid
Brahms: The Boy II
Creepshow Season 1
Emma
Onward
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Way Back

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope that everyone is safe and sound and helping out the local businesses in this time of great need. If you’re looking for some suggestions on what to watch (and take advantage of our fine collection and rental deals) check out the recommendations page on our website! I’ll be adding more to that very soon as well!

Peace.

Copyright © 2020 Black Dog Video, All rights reserved.

Posted in Newsletter | Comments Off on Black Dog Newsletter : “Plague Survival Guide Edition!”

Father and Son (and sometimes Wife) Film Appreciation Class

Since we’re all cooped up in our abodes while the plague ravishes the land I thought we’d put together a film appreciation class! Everyday my 14.5 year-old, we’ll call him Swanson, and I (and sometimes his mother, my wife) will take in, what I consider anyways, a classic of cinema. We’ll run the gamut from silent films to a few current selections. I’m going to try to keep it fun so he won’t get bored. It will be non-linear, as in we’ll pop around the 20th Century and explore theme’s, history, where we’re at and how did we get here. Feel free to play along and chime in with thoughts and suggestions!

March 30/2020

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The General (Buster Keaton – 1926) – Made on a rather large budge for the time – $750 K – and making only $475K – it was a big flop and almost ruined Keaton’s career. He later said it was the film he was most proud of. This action/comedy set during the beginning of the Civil War is known for it’s elaborate and crazy dangerous stunts. Watch for the scene when he rides on the cow catcher and tosses railroad ties to clear the way. Incredible.

Post – it was a fun film to watch again. I hadn’t seen it in ages. Cool score by the Alloy Orchestra. Swanson really liked it as well. When asked what he liked about it he replied, “It was funny, well-shot and I like that Buster Keaton guy. He’s short, has a big head and looks weird.”  There ya have it.

March 31/20

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Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly 1952) – Since we just watched a silent film and since Swanson loves musicals, I thought this would be the perfect film for tonight as it deals with the struggle of a film company as the adjust going from silent movies to “talkies” or, I guess, “singies” back in the day. Famous for Kelly’s wet rain number but don’t forget Donald, um, Sutherland…nope…Pleasence…nope…Duck….um nope…O’Connor! That’s it, and, of course, Debbie Reynolds. All are amazing.

Post – All enjoyed the fun dancey film. Lots of tap. Maybe too much? Naw. Swanson says, “put it on my staff picks!” He also commented that Gene Kelly looked like Spongebob Squarepants in during one particular number.

April 1/20

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Casablanca (Michael Curtiz – 1942) Look at that cast – Bogey, Bergman, Lorre, Reins, Greenstreet, others! Although Casablanca was an A-list film with big stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything other than one of the hundreds of ordinary pictures produced by Hollywood studio system which churned out films at an alarming rate. Who’s laughing now?

Post – I loved it. As did my wife. Swanson, not so much. He liked it but found it a little confusing. I guess one needs to know a little of the history of the time to put the film in context. Still, he admired Bogie’s enormous head.

April 3rd

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Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock 1954)Swanson’s seen the Simpsons version so now it’s time for the real thing.

April 5th

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The Third Man (Carol Reed 1949) – Nice to revisit the dank dark streets of post-war Vienna and get reacquainted with the friends of Harry Lime. Swanson liked it but of all the films we’ve watched for this club so far, it was his least liked. I’ll get him an American noir in his eyes soon enough.

April 6th

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Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron – 2006) – I thought I’d treat Swanson to something a little more current – not just when the film was made (14 years ago!) but timely in it’s subject matter – pandemic, blame the immigrants etc. Told him to focus on the details – so much going on in the background and the intense single shot takes. Still holds up beautifully although it wasn’t his favourite film we’ve watched so far. I loved it.

April 7th

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The Haunting (Robert Wise 1963) – The Haunting (original – forget the lame remake) has been one of my favourite horror films (haunted house category) for such a long time. It was our first horror film for this class and I was quite excited to show Swanson this one. I told him to look for the use of sound, art direction, editing, camera angles and shadows and the fine black and white cinematography (instead of showing you ghosts and things) to create the unsettling atmosphere and give you the chills and the scares. And to my delight (and maybe a little surprise) he loved it! The odd angles and creepy statues were highlights for him. It goes on his staff pick shelf!  That’s 4 out of 7. Not too shabby.

April 9th

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A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood 1935) – The first Marx Brothers movie and any of us had seen! And what a delight. Swanson and Wife really were head over heels for it while I enjoyed it but could have done with less opera singing and harp playing. Made us want to watch more and it goes on his staff picks! What are your favourite Marx Brothers movies?

April 12/20

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman 1978) – I thought it might be appropriate given the times we’re slogging through. I mentioned to watch for the hand-held camera, quick cuts, camera angles and use of background noises to heighten the feeling of paranoia. And to look for cameos from the director and star of the original (which we watched last year and it’s the version that I prefer although I like this version’s ending better). It was great to watch again although Swanson felt there was too much running.

April 14/20

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The Bank Dick (Edward Cline 1940) – Another first – none of us had seen a W.C. Fields film before. This is a weird movie. Swanson really enjoyed it (more than I did) as it has a nice light comedic tone with a sprinkling of good laughs and ends with a crazy car chase. I enjoyed the child abuse and his strange relationship with his hateful family. Bonus points for having a character named Filthy McNasty.

April 16/20

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Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder 1944) Walter Neff looks at the glass of iced tea he’s been handed. “A little rum would get this on it’s feet”. A great line in a film filled with great lines. My favourite noir and now Swanson’s as well. A pleasure to watch again. On the staff pick wall it goes.

April 18/20

A surreal double bill!

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Un Chien Andalou (Luis Buñuel 1929) Thought I’d blow Swanson’s mind with 21 minutes of bizarre surreal imagery (as it blew my mind when I first saw it all those years ago). I still can’t believe this made in the 1920s. The eye slicing scene made him bury his head in a blanket. After that his comment was, “I don’t trust this film anymore”. Might be the best comment I’ve ever heard.

Then…

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Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly 2001) – I’ve seen this film four times now (once the director’s cut – not recommended) and it’s still up for debate about what it’s all about and what actually happens (at least in my mind). Swanson loved it and we discussed the possibilities of what transpired for some time. but came up with no concrete answers. A great cult classic that still holds up incredibly well despite being almost 20 years old (!).

April 21/20

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Duck Soup (Leo McCarey 1933) – Yes, another Marx Brothers film (watched upon recommendations made after viewing Night at the Opera). Pretty funny with a nice short run time. I think I enjoyed Night at Opera better, but this still has some inspired moments (the peanut vendor gags are gold). Swanson requested this one and he was quite enthralled with it. And I can see why Zeppo is the Shemp of the bunch. Not too sure why it was called duck soup – no ducks, no soup.

April 25/20

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Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz 1986) – This was a Swanson pick. He’s a big fan of the stage production and soundtrack so what can I say? He enjoyed it (liked the play much more). I thought it was particularly dreadful – lame songs, flat direction, vaguely racist talking plant. I liked Steve Martin until I didn’t. I know it’s beloved by many but I cannot recommend this one at all.

April 26/20

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What’s Up Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich 1972) – As this was one of my favourite comedies growing up, I was a tad apprehensive about watching it again in case it didn’t age well. Boy was I wrong. This is still one of the funniest, silliest, most wonderful of comedies. A young, sexy and totally charming Barbara Streisand leads a hilarious cast through a series of misunderstandings and mix-ups climaxing in one of the most hysterical and thrilling car chases ever. Swanson loved it as well. He said it’s probably his favourite of all the films we’ve watched so far! I was pleased as punch!

April 28/20

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An American Werewolf in London (John Landis 1981) I thought I’d introduce Swanson to one of the earliest (that I remember anyways) examples of the horror/comedy genres combining for a tasty movie stew. For the most part it holds up – effects are still cool – but I forgot the “climax” starts in a porn theatre (not particularly necessary and vaguely uncomfortable to watch with a 14 year-old, “Did those places actually exist?” he asked) and all the ridiculous gory mayhem – people flying through windshields, heads crushed, decapitations, bodies strewn about during the monster’s final rampage! It was still fun but of the time for sure.

April 30/20

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In a Lonely Place (Nicolas Ray 1950) – I’d been told by several people to watch this, so I did. Wow. What a great film. Bogart at his best – might be my favourite role he’s played. He’s sad, angry and pathetic. You’re still rooting for him even as he spirals out of control. A great mash-up of noir and 50’s melodrama. Swanson loved it as well. I’m constantly impressed by how much he enjoys these older films.

May 1/20

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Robocop (Paul Verhoeven 1987) Some fun Friday night viewing! Still a great funny, violent satire. I love Verhoeven and now Swanson does as well. We especially laughed at the Ed-209 audition, the toxic waste fella and Ronny Cox’s long arms as he falls to his death. Good times.

May6/20

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Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock 1960) Hard to believe this came out in 1960. It’s still great and chilling! The boy loved it as well. Rediscovering Hitch all over again myself! I want to live in that house!

May 8/20

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The Road Warrior aka Mad Max 2 (George Miller 1981) – Still my all-time favourite action film. Melted my young brain when I accidentally stumbled across it in the theatres all those years ago. Sure Fury Road is glossier with a bigger budget, but pound for pound, gimme The Road Warrior any day. Oh, and the boy and wife both enjoyed the hell out it!

May 12/20

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North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock 1959) Digested another Hitchcock film. Lots of fun, maybe a bit too long (I can think of a few scenes some scissors would have been appreciated) but top notch anyway. I was never a big Hitch fan but re-watching these past few has changed that opinion. Can’t wait for Vertigo! The boy is digging the old man as well.

May 15/20

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Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson 1986) – “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”, “I’ve had but a few ales”, “I want the finest wines know to humanity!” “Cool your boots, man” So many fine lines in this cult classic. I was worried that the boy wouldn’t be down with this funny and sad tale of down-on -their-luck actors who hightail to the country-side to rejuvenate with disastrous results. But he quite liked it (he like that fact the other guy is just called “I”). Nice to see these guys again.

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Black Dog Newsletter “Pick-Up-Dates!”

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Just a quick update for those of you interested in snarfing up some films from the shops. We’ll be doing curb-side pick ups this week on Tuesday at Commercial and Wednesday at Cambie from 3-6pm. The usual rules apply – send me you requests at blackdogvid@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to have them ready for you.

Rules of engagement:

  • please specify DVD or Blu Ray and have some back up requests in case we don’t have everything that you’re looking for. Remember our deals – 5 old titles for $15 or 3 New Releases for the price of 2.
  • please specify which store you will be picking up at. Very important for obvious reasons.
  • e-transfers (to the above address) work great for fast and easy in and out service. You can also pay in-store with cash, debit or credit card. You decide!
  • bring a bag, keep a safe distance from fellow travelers and be patient (what else do you have to do?)
  • please return your films as others would like to take them home.

And let’s be careful out there.

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